UA says parking issues settled

Katherine Martin

On any given day, there are thousands of free parking spaces on campus, said Chris D’Esposito, assistant director of parking service in a forum held by the Student Government Association Monday night.

The problem, D’Esposito said, is that they are not always open where students want them to be.

“There is plenty of room to grow as far as parking goes,” D’Esposito said. “We don’t have a parking shortage.”

D’Esposito said the previous parking issues in the commuter west lot have settled down since students have adjusted to new schedules.

“We upped permit sales in that area by about 400,” D’Esposito said. “Normally, we oversell by about 100. What happened that we didn’t know was that the registrar added four new classes on Tuesdays in one building near the lot.”

D’Esposito said if the lot is full, students should park in perimeter parking.

“It provides students a safe place to park,” he said. “Granted, it’s not where you always want to park.”

Stephen Swinson, vice president of student affairs, said the event was held as a follow-up meeting after the SGA met with Parking and Transportation Services in October to discuss several issues and student concerns.

“It was recommended that we give the new changes time to work themselves out as people adapted to them,” Swinson said.

Officials from Parking Services, CrimsonRide and 348-RIDE answered questions from members of the SGA Senate concerning transportation issues on campus.

Ralph Clayton, assistant director of transportation services, addressed possible changes to the Crimson Ride routes in the future.

The campus is constantly evolving, Clayton said. Transportation services will address route changes based on results of a number of large studies that are in review.

Recently, Clayton said, students received an e-mail with a survey about transportation issues. More than 3,300 responses are being evaluated and will play a part in making decisions for next year.

Clayton also discussed the possibility of extending the Sunday shopping center route to Saturday.

“The Sunday route was a pilot program to see what the response would be,” Clayton said. “We will certainly look at adding an additional day to it and possible more locations.”

Clayton said Parking and Transportation Services is working on a new automated dispatch system for 348-RIDE.

“This will allow you to go online, use web-based phones or call and say where you want to go and the call will be put in to an automated dispatch system,” Clayton said.

Another problem addressed at the open forum concerned buses getting backed up and running back-to-back.

“It’s one of the biggest headaches,” Clayton said, “when you’re sitting at a bus stop and you see two of the same buses for the same route.”

Even though buses are on a timed schedule, several factors, like traffic, keep the buses from running smoothly, Clayton said.

Parking officials discussed parking citations on campus. One individual has already received 37 tickets this semester, D’Esposito said.

With so many citations, officials are hoping to get the dean of students and student affairs involved to help.

Clayton said the goal of parking services is to meet the needs of students.

“We have a number of options for you to give us feedback,” Clayton said. “We take your feedback seriously.”